Aviation of World War II

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Deck Torpedo Bomber

Fairey Barracuda in flight

Barracuda - deck torpedo bomber and monoplane dive bomber to replace the outdated Fairey Swordfish and Albacor biplanes. The first prototype took off on May 18, 1942, but the first batch of 30 vehicles turned out to be unsuitable for combat operation due to the weak power plant, the Merlin engine power of 1300 hp. was clearly not enough.

In January 1943, the Barracuda Mk.II entered service with a Merlin 32 engine of 1640 hp, which had satisfactory performance characteristics, although this power was not enough.

The following modifications III, IV and V appeared with the installation of new radars and engines of higher power on the aircraft.

A total of 2607 aircraft of all modifications were produced.

Barracuda Mk.II Specification
Crew 3
Wing span 14.50/5.56*
Wing area, m² 37.62
Length, m 12.18
Height, m 4.58
1 ПД Rolls-Royce Merlin 32, h.p. 1640
Weight, kg:
Empty 4,445
Loaded weight 5,715
Gross weight 6,386
Maximum speed, km/h 338
Cruising speed, km/h 311
Service ceiling, m 6,585
Service range, km 1,165
2 × 7.7 mm Vickers machine gun, bombs up to, kg 904

* - wing consoles folded on an aircraft carrier.

Combat use. Barracudas have shown themselves in general as a good, but secondary aircraft, especially in the second half of World War II. In general, the entire naval aviation of Great Britain played a very modest role in the vast ocean theaters. Its actions were in no way comparable to the scale of the naval operations of the American and Japanese fleets. Suffice it to say that only five British aircraft carriers have operated in the Indian Ocean since 1943 - Illustrious, Victorious, Indefatigable, Indomitable and Formidable with 628 aircraft on board, while the United States in the same year only new ones put into operation 21 aircraft carriers of three different classes.

The most famous military operation involving the Barracuda was the attack of the German battleship Tirpitz in 1944. Since the beginning of the war, this ship together with other flagships of the Reich fleet - Bismarck, Admiral Scheer, Admiral Hipper, Lutzow , "Prince Eugen" - literally terrorized convoys and battle groups of allied fleets in the Atlantic and Arctic Ocean with its raids. One unconfirmed report about the appearance of Tirpitz in the area of ​​the PQ-17 convoy passage was enough for the British to make a panicky decision to disband the convoy and remove their escort, which led to its death. Therefore, the British fleet hunted almost continuously (and quite successfully) for the German battleships and heavy cruisers. The widespread use of aviation for this was inspired by the epic of the destruction of the battleship "Bismarck", which was "nailed" to its place by two torpedoes of the Swordfish, after which the British ships dealt with the giant that had lost its speed. The first air strike on the battleship "Tirpitz" was struck on January 28, 1942. Nine Halifaxes dropped 45 tons of bombs onto its parking lot in the Aas Fjord without a single hit. On the night of January 29-30, seven Sterlings repeated the raid, and again to no avail. In the narrow fjord, it was extremely difficult to detect and hit a single ship from classical high-altitude bombing. In March, when approaching the base in Westfjord, Tirpitz was discovered and attacked by the Albacores from the aircraft carrier "Victorious". Failure again! Then the attacks were resumed by heavy bombers. On March 30, 33 Halifax participated in the raid, and on April 27 - 54 Halifax and Lancaster. And again, not a single hit was noted ...

After these dramatic events, the Barracudas were involved in combat operations only to perform secondary tasks. The American aircraft Grumman Avenger was almost unanimously recognized as the best carrier-based torpedo bomber used by British pilots.

Photo Description
Drawing Fairey Barracuda Mk.II

Drawing Fairey Barracuda Mk.II.

Drawing Barracuda with ASV Mk.IN Radar

Drawing Barracuda with ASV Mk.IN Radar.

Fairey Barracuda Mk.II

Fairey Barracuda Mk.II

Fairey Barracuda above the sea

Fairey Barracuda above the sea


  • "British warplanes from World War II." / Ed. Daniel March /
  • "Deck-based and shore-based naval aircraft 1939-1945" / Vladimir Kotelnikov /.
  • "Encyclopedia of Military Equipment" / Aerospace Publising /